TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Rose Marginson of Tampa and Gwen Buege of Homestead each have a teenage daughter. And both mothers say Florida law should make sure parents are told when their underage daughters seek an abortion.
"It’s our job to take care of them and therefore we should know what they’re doing with their lives and with their bodies," Marginson said.
Lawmakers are preparing to write the law the two mothers desire, now that voters cleared the way in November by changing the state constitution to limit the privacy rights of girls seeking abortions.
Along with parental notice, lawmakers have three other ballot measures to deal with in the two-month session that starts March 8. They also need to figure out how to regulate and tax slot machines in South Florida, how to handle the increase in minimum wage and what to do with the high-speed train voters yanked out of the state constitution.
Although the parental notice amendment was approved by nearly 65 percent of voters, lawmakers don’t have to pass a parental notice law. The amendment permits the law, but does not require it.
But to Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, the Cape Coral Republican who will sponsor the bill, the voters made their intent clear: "Now that we have a constitutional mandate, it’s not just like we can ignore it."
Sen. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, said he’s ready to sponsor the bill in the Senate.
Although opponents have little expectation of being able to block a law, they are still concerned about the consequences. Jane Maxwell, who testified at a public hearing on the issue, said some teens will take foolish or dangerous steps to avoid telling parents about a pregnancy.
The former sex ed teacher for Planned Parenthood said she believes a parental notice law would cause problems for teenagers that will never be told.
"I think we’re taking a really big step backward," the Clearwater woman said.
Buege, the Homestead mother, dismisses the warnings of opponents.
"It’s all about money," she said. "They make money doing abortions. And that’s what it’s all about. There is no other issue." [Source]